Reading

Teeth In The Mist – Dawn Kurtagich | A Book Review

Title: Teeth In The Mist

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Fantasy-Horror (Young Adult)

About the book: The book is inspired by the legend of Faust. In 1583, Hermione is a young bride whose husband wants to build a water mill. In 1851, Roan arrives at Medywn Mill House as a ward after her father dies. In present day, Zoey goes to explore the ruins of the house with her friend, Poulton.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I don’t read much horror, but I heard of the novel and decided to check it out.

There are a lot of working parts, so it took some time for me to get into the story.

Characters: Roan and Zoey are the main protagonists. They grew on me. At first, I enjoyed reading Zoey’s sections more, but by the end, I also liked Roan’s perspective. Hermione’s diary entries were short but strange in a good way.

Quote:

“We think we’re so special, convinced of our own uniqueness, our own destiny.”

Writing: Some parts are written in first person and others are in third person. I found the formatting of certain words interesting. It made for a unique reading experience.

Since I read an ARC, the art and design haven’t been finalized, so I’d be interested to see how the final images complement the text.

Final thoughts: I didn’t see the ending coming, specifically the reveal of the villian. Overall, it’s such a complex novel with many layers.

I’m not spooked easily, but I didn’t find it too scary. A lot of events take place in the past, so there’s also a historical feel to the novel.

Teeth In The Mist is a good read for fans looking for a horror and fantasy hybrid.


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Reading

Screen Queens – Lori Goldstein | A Book Review

Title: Screen Queens

Author: Lori Goldstein

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: Lucy, Maddie, and Delia find themselves on the same team for an incubator competition where they have to build an app.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The cover is beautiful, and I like the title. I was intrigued by the premise.

Characters: The three protagonists are great, and all of them grew on me. Lucy is a leader who believes in working and playing hard. Maddie’s a designer who didn’t expect to make friends. Delia taught herself how to code but isn’t very confident. I could see parts of myself in the girls.

Lucy, Maddie, and Delia are different yet well developed. I enjoyed seeing them put aside their differences in order to work together. The dynamic in the group felt realistic. I also appreciate the diversity with Maddie being Chinese and Irish.

Quote:

“I want to be known for what I do, not for what someone does to me.”

Writing: The book is written in the third person and alternates between three points of view. Goldstein does a good job balancing description with dialogue. I didn’t expect to feel as many emotions as I did while reading this novel. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me in the best way possible. There’s a little bit of romance, but it doesn’t overtake the main storylines. The author addresses some of the issues women face in a male-dominated industry.

Final thoughts: I love the ending. It’s an inspiring, empowering read. I’ve never read anything quite like this novel before.

I highly recommend Screen Queens, especially if you’re a girl interested in technology.


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Reading

When We Were Lost – Kevin Wignall | A Book Review

Title: When We Were Lost

Author: Kevin Wignall

Genre: Adventure (Young Adult)

About the book: When a plane crashes and only nineteen teens survive, they must find a way to navigate the jungle and make it out alive.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I tend to enjoy survival stories, so I was intrigued by the premise. I like the title and cover. There’s a prologue, which I found interesting. The beginning wasn’t dragged out or too slow.

Characters: There are a lot of characters, but the novel focuses on certain individuals more than others. The protagonist, Tom, is a complex character who I could relate to. Despite the depth of most characters, I found it hard to visualize their physical appearance. Obviously, some aren’t as likeable as others, but the dynamic of the group felt realistic. There’s a bit of diversity, and I would’ve loved more.

Quote:

“You lost someone you love and that never goes away.”

Writing: The chapters aren’t long, and they’re from Tom’s perspective but written in the third person. There isn’t much romance.

Final thoughts: The ending left me wanting more in a good way. It isn’t too unpredictable or shocking. Also, the epilogue ties back to the prologue, so the book comes full circle, and I’m a fan of that. It’s a standalone, but I feel like the aftermath of what the high schoolers went through could be another book in and of itself.

I would recommend When We Were Lost to those interested in stories about survival in the South American wilderness.


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Reading

Testimony From Your Perfect Girl – Kaui Hart Hemmings | A Book Review

Title: Testimony From Your Perfect Girl

Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: Annie has almost everything she could ever ask for, but when her dad is accused of scamming others out of their investments, she gets sent to live with her aunt and uncle over winter break.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title, and the cover is interesting. I’ve never read anything by Hemmings before, but the premise sounded interesting to me.

Characters: Annie’s flawed, and she develops throughout the story. The story mainly revolves around her, but I wouldn’t have minded learning more about the secondary characters.

Quote:

“I feel so powerful, so in charge, and until now, I didn’t realize that this isn’t always a good thing to be.”

Writing: It’s written in the first person from Annie’s point of view. The chapters are short and simple.

Hemmings doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. She addresses issues like drinking and drugs. Some of the mature scenes would be more suitable for an older audience. That being said, there are lighter moments in the dialogue.

Final thoughts: The ending wraps everything up. I tend to enjoy epilogues, and this one is no exception.

Testimony From Your Perfect Girl is a short but solid read, especially for teens in high school.


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Reading

Like A Love Story – Abdi Nazemian | A Book Review

Title: Like A Love Story

Author: Abdi Nazemian

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s set in 1989 during the outbreak of the AIDS crisis, following three teenagers named Reza, Judy, and Art.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The title and cover are interesting.

Characters: I enjoyed seeing the growth of all three protagonists throughout the story. There’s diversity with both Reza and Art being gay. I love how the characters aren’t perfect because they all have their own problems.

Quote:

“Don’t you want to create your own life?”

Writing: The book alternates between different points of view with each POV told in the first person. Some of the romantic scenes are more mature in nature. Nazemian makes many references to popular culture in the late 90s, most of which went over my head. That being said, I didn’t mind not knowing the songs or movies mentioned. If anything, it made the book feel more grounded in the late 1900s.

Final thoughts: I didn’t know what to expect for the ending, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This novel isn’t just about love. It’s also about family and friendship. I think the themes are relevant and will resonate with a lot of young readers.

I’d recommend Like A Love Story to those interested in stories exploring homosexuality.


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Reading

The Thief Of All Light By Bernard Schaffer | A Book Review

Title: The Thief of All Light

Author: Bernard Schaffer

Genre: Thriller

About the book: Rookie cop Carrie Santero teams up with a disgraced veteran in Jacob Rein to find a serial killer who is imitating other famous killers.

I received a free copy of the novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love a good thriller as much as the next person, so when Schaffer reached out to me, I was excited. I like the title and cover. The beginning of the story starts off strong.

Characters: I will always adore strong female protagonists, and Carrie is easy to root for. I liked her development throughout the story. I hope she continues to develop in subsequent novels. Jacob Rein grew on me more than I expected. The secondary characters are also well fleshed out with their own backstories.

Quote:

“The only reliable thing in all of existence is entropy.”

Writing: The occasional banter between characters helps balance out the darker, tragic moments. I appreciate the lack of romance. Some scenes are violent and graphic in nature.

It’s a concise novel at a little under 300 pages with short chapters, so the plot unfolds at a quick pace. The author doesn’t drag anything out for too long.

Final thoughts: The ending answers many questions, but it also left me wanting to read more.

I’d recommend The Thief of All Light to adults who are fans of suspenseful thrillers about serial killers.


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Reading

If She Wakes By Michael Koryta | A Book Review

Title: If She Wakes

Author: Michael Koryta

Genre: Thriller

About the book: Tara, a student, is in a vegetative state after being hit by a car while Abby, an insurance investigator, finds a young hitman after her when she starts looking into what happened.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I was intrigued by the cover, title, and premise. I haven’t read any books by Koryta in the past, but I enjoyed the beginning of this story.

Characters: The characters are well-written. Even though their circumstances are more extreme than anything I’ve been through, both Tara and Abby resonated with me.

Quote:

“You take your wins where you can find them, though.”

Writing: I liked the writing and pacing. The suspense kept me turning the pages because I wanted to know what would happen next. It’s written in the third person, so it alternates between the perspectives of multiple characters. Some scenes are more violent and graphic in nature that might not appeal to everybody. There’s no romance, which I appreciated.

Final thoughts: I read the last hundred pages or so in one sitting, and I haven’t done that in a long time. The ending didn’t disappoint at all. It was action-packed, yet hard to predict at the same time.

I highly recommend If She Wakes for fans of thrillers featuring strong female characters overcoming different obstacles.


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Reading

The Curse Of Misty Wayfair By Jamie Jo Wright | A Book Review

Title: The Curse of Misty Wayfair

Author: Jamie Jo Wright

Genre: Suspense

About the book: It alternates between the perspectives of two women, Thea and Heidi, in different time periods, seeking answers to questions regarding their identity.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I’ve read and liked a couple of Wright’s novels in the past. Even though I thought I’d enjoy the plot, I found it hard to get into at first.

Characters: Both Thea and Heidi are flawed but relatable. There are several characters in each story, but I didn’t find it too difficult to keep track of them. That said, keeping track of everybody’s relation to other family members took a bit more work.

Quote:

“So much of life is a mystery, and so often it is left unsolved.”

Writing: I appreciated the representation of mental illness and special needs. The author addresses issues like autism as well as anxiety. I wasn’t expecting that, but they add more depth to the characters and to the story.

I’m also a fan of the subtle romance because it didn’t overshadow the main storylines.

Final thoughts: By the end, I wanted to know how all the pieces fit together. I love novels like this one where I can’t quite predict all the twists and turns. In my opinion, the ending was the most interesting.

The Curse of Misty Wayfair won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a complex narrative about important issues.


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